The price of a clean program. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
You may have heard that Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino in the offseason for some personal indiscretions which may have opened up the University of Arkansas to approximately three billion lawsuits. It was a decision widely praised at the time as putting people and the university before football, especially in light of the recent scandals at Penn St. Petrino built Arkansas football into a BCS team, and the university swallowed hard and canned him when he acted recklessly. No man is bigger than the program.
Happy thoughts and plaudits from the pundits don't win football games. And actions do have consequences. Arkansas had to fire Petrino, but it also meant that their on the field product was going to step a back. Petrino may be a jerk, but he's a darn good football coach.
As the joke goes, they don't call him John W Smith. Once Tyler Wilson went down with an injury, Arkansas kept inexplicably throwing the ball to protect its lead, as if Smith and Petrino went to the Lynn Amadee School of Offensive Play Calling.
Arkansas pretty much did everything in its power to let UL Monroe off the mat. ULM happily took the opportunity and pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season so far. It's hard to not blame Arkansas' coaching staff for this one, and Hog fans can be forgiven for wishing Bobby Petrino was still on the sideline.
If hard choices were easy, they wouldn't be called hard choices. Arkansas sacrificed a few football games for the greater good of their program and their university. It sucks for Arkansas fans that they have to endure what looks to be a very long season, but it doesn't mean the decision to fire Petrino was the wrong one. In fact, this game makes the decision even more noble.
Arkansas really has rejected the win-at-all-costs mentality which has caused such disaster at other programs. Yes, the loss to UL Monroe was embarrassing, but Arkansas fans can hold their heads high. They did the right thing, and now they are suffering the fallout for it. No good deed goes unpunished.
I genuinely salute Arkansas and its fan base. But y'all might want to start the nationwide coaching search for next season now.